UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurer, said Thursday its fourth-quarter net income soared 53 percent on strong performances across its businesses.
The Minnetonka, Minn.-based health insurer reported net income of $379 million, or $1.20 a share, compared with $247 million, or 76 cents a share, in the prior fourth quarter.
Revenue rose 11 percent to $6.68 billion from $6.02 billion. The company said the increase reflected balanced growth and expansion throughout the company.
For the year, net income rose 48 percent to $1.35 billion, or $4.25 a share, from $913 million, or $2.79 a share. Revenue climbed 6.7 percent to $25 billion from $23.45 billion.
The results beat Wall Street's estimates for earnings of $1.16 a share for the quarter and $4.20 a share for the year, according to Thomson First Call.
Figures for the latest quarter and 2002 benefited from the absence of goodwill amortization, an expense that companies are no longer required to record under an accounting rule implemented at the beginning of 2002.
UnitedHealth said it expects a strong overall performance in 2003, with earnings-per-share growth of about 22 percent for the year.
With more than 17 million members, UnitedHealth expects premiums will rise 13 percent this year, while medical costs are expected to increase 11 percent to 12 percent.
Shares of UnitedHealth closed Thursday at $84.79, up $2.04, or 2.5 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights
Jan 23, '03
Insurance companies are businesses, and businesses have to turn a profit in order to stay in business. The alternative to increased insurance premiums and restricted care is no insurers and thus no access to care at all for the vast majority of individuals.
I don't have a problem with UnitedHealth posting a profit.